New York is in good company with other states looking to increase their renewables and fight climate change. Several states including Hawaii, California, Vermont, and Oregon are leading the way with major increases in the past year in their clean energy targets. And with a series of executive announcements and regulatory activities over the past two months, New York is staying firmly at the head of the pack.
Over the past year, several states have ratcheted up their renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to make them more aggressive.
Hawaii: On June 8, 2015 Hawaii Governor David Ige approved HB623, which included an increase to the state’s RPS to 100 percent by 2045. The increase includes a staged approach—hitting 30 percent by 2020, 70 percent by 2040, and 100 percent by 2045. Hawaii’s RPS is considered a landmark given its unprecedented goal of being the first state to have 100 percent renewable energy.
Vermont: Just three days following the Hawaii action, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont signed HB40 into effect. This bill included an increase to the state’s RPS to 75 percent by 2032. Vermont continues to have progressive energy goals and stands out as a frontrunner in the fight against climate change, including a longstanding commitment to energy efficiency.
New York is putting its money (and the law) where its mouth is
California: On October 7, California Governor Jerry Brown approved SB350. SB350 includes more than just an increase to the state’s RPS to 50 percent, but also an increase to energy efficiency by 50 percent by 2030. California’s goals are important for their recognition of more than just electricity supply as paramount to abating emissions.
Oregon: Picking up where other states ended 2015, last month Oregon’s two major investor-owned utilities, Portland General Electric and Pacific Power, announced that they arebacking a bill to phase out coal-fired generation by 2030 and to increase the RPS to 50 percent by 2040.
All this activity elsewhere in the country puts New York in good company as it strengthens its commitment to clean energy development. The key challenge now for all these states is to not only build new renewable generation sources, but to also build a new integrated energy system that deploys assets to their best use while harnessing new technologies and employs business models that improve customers’ relationship with their energy supply.